While Waterford’s Granville Hotel has greeted guests in its current form for over four decades, the building’s fascinating history traces back to the early 1700’s.
It was built by a family of wealthy merchants, and eventually acquired by Thomas Meagher, father of Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher, known for designing the Irish tricolour among many other achievements of historical significance.
Today, it stands elegant and welcoming on Waterford City’s Meagher Quay, in a centric and privileged position ideal to both explore the city or to embark in the scenic Waterford Greenway.
We stayed this summer, and it was our first overnight out of home in a very, very, very long time. To our peace of mind, from the moment we walked through its doors it was obvious that there was a high level of care with regards to health and safety protocols (The Granville is adhering to Fáilte Ireland’s Covid-19 Safety Charter).
After a swift check in, we took a moment to admire the old school charm of the interiors: classic and bright, with stately furniture and chandeliers yet warm and inviting.
Our room, a Double with River View, offered picturesque sights of the River Suir just across the road. It also featured all the amenities one would expect for a four stars hotel and a decor that channelled the inviting comfort of an 18th century manor.
If you plan to do the Greenway and bring your own bicycle, it is possible to keep it in the hotel’s garage, although there are also numerous companies renting all types of bikes within walking distance.
We went out in the afternoon to do some sightseeing around the city. As part of Ireland’s Ancient East, Waterford is rich in heritage and cultural landmarks. For those looking to learn and explore by foot, there is an award-winning walking tour of the city which you can join from the hotel, hosted by historian Jack Burtchaell. Just ask at the reception and they’ll be happy to direct you.
We returned to the Granville in the evening to share dinner at Bianconi Restaurant. With a menu that combines local favourites as well as French and Mediterranean influences, Executive Head Chef Stephen Hooper creates appealing dishes that empathise Irish (and specially Waterford’s) ingredients.
For starters, we had the Chicken, Ham and Mushroom Vol-au-Vent in a lovely, creamy white wine sauce, a flavourful and comforting opening, the type of dish that you don’t just casually put together at home.
Alongside the vol-au-vent, we had the Chilli King Prawns in Warm Garlic Butter with fresh sourdough crostini. The flavours were so well-balanced, and the prawns so perfectly cooked… Long live king prawns.
For the mains, we tried the Braised Lamb Shank with creamy mashed potato, seasonal vegetables, red wine and thyme jus, and the Honey Glazed Duck Breast with braised red cabbage, ginger & plum sauce, and buttered baby potatoes.
We found the portions quite generous, even with an appetite after all that walking. The lamb was tender and very well seasoned, the duck was just the right shade of pink and its complements added that mouth-watering blend of sweet into the savoury.
The venue’s wine list is concise but considerate, with a good balance between French and old world crowd pleasers, and a few New World favourites. We chose a bottle of Château Meaume Bordeaux Superiour to fill our glasses. This Merlot-driven blend was spicy and packed pleasant aromas of plum and dark cherries, ideal alongside our gamey dinner.
For dessert, we shared a White Chocolate and Red Berry Cheesecake, cloud-soft and with just the right level of sweetness.
The bill for dinner at Bianconi Restaurant came at €101 euros, including two starters, two mains, one dessert and a bottle of wine. The service was friendly and enthusiastic, and thanks to the layout and paneling, tables had a sensible separation between them.
It is worth pointing out that the restaurant offers both an a la carte menu and a set dinner menu of three courses for a very reasonable €35.
After a great night’s sleep, we went back to the restaurant, this time for breakfast. It surpassed expectations for both the quality and the level of service. All we had to do was go to our table and everything was brought to us. From cereals, juice and pastries, to the breakfast mains.
We tried their Traditional Waffles with blueberries and maple syrup, and the Waterford-Style Eggs Benedict, with poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce, grilled Irish bacon, and, you guessed correctly, a fresh Waterford Blaa (one does not simply visit Waterford without trying this specialty).
Waterford City is just under two hours from Dublin either driving or by train, an ideal starting point to explore Ireland’s Ancient East, and the Granville Hotel Waterford proved to be a wonderful place to treat ourselves to proper hospitality. The room and the common areas were comfortable and elegant, the restaurant served hearty and appetising dishes warmly and in a delightful surrounding.
Granville Hotel Waterford
P: +353 51 305555
A: Meagher Quay, Waterford.
ARTICLE BY GABY GUEDEZ